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Eazi Grip

Alvaro Bautista makes it a triple at Phillip Island, while Rea struggles

Race One

An incredible move at Turn 3 allowed Bautista to claim victory using the #1 plate after a wet race in Australia started the season in style.

A delayed start to Race 1 in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship provided plenty of drama as rain came down before the start of the race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed a stunning victory in difficult conditions after an incredible overtake on rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as the #1 started the season on top in Australia.

Rea Vs Bautista: A head-to-head fight

Bautista started from second place but got the holeshot at the start of the race before being passed by Rea, who took his 378th WorldSBK start in Race 1 and moved ahead of Troy Corser at Turn 10 on the opening lap of the race. From there, Rea and Bautista pulled away from the chasing pack as they battled it out for the win. Rea had been able to pull out a gap of just over a second at points during the first half of the race but Bautista never lost touch and slowly started reeling the six-time Champion in.

On Lap 10, Bautista made his move at Stoner Corner, the high-speed left-hand corner to take the lead of the race and he remained there for the final 12 laps of the race. Bautista had a huge slide through Turn 8 a couple of laps after passing Rea but, although the Ulsterman closed in, Bautista once again pulled away to take victory by more than three seconds at the end of the race.

Behind the leading duo, it was a bit of a lonely race for polesitter Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) as he finished in third place but six seconds down on Bautista and 10 seconds ahead of teammate Andrea Locatelli as the factory Yamaha duo finished in third and fourth respectively. Bautista’s victory claimed Spain’s 70th WorldSBK victory while it was his 59th WorldSBK podium finish. Second was Rea’s 246th podium while Razgatlioglu claimed his 83rd podium in WorldSBK.

Fighting through the field: Gaining places

Italian rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) battled his way up from 14th to fifth at the end of the 22-lap race which included two stunning opening laps to put himself into the top ten. He slowly picked off his rivals before dropping back from Locatelli and settling for fifth place. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was the lead Honda rider in sixth as he gained positions from 11th on the grid on his first WorldSBK race at Phillip Island. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was another who gained places throughout the race as he took seventh place. The pair had battled throughout the final lap with an incident investigated by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards after the pair made contact. Petrucci had crossed the line ahead of Vierge but was demoted one position for irresponsible riding, meaning Vierge was seventh and Petrucci eighth.

ROUNDING OUT THE TOP TEN: drama right until the end

In what was a bit of a theme for riders who finished in the top ten, Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) took eighth spot after fighting from 17th on the grid, finishing ahead of BMW duo Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) with American star taking a top-ten finished on his first BMW race start after starting towards the back of the grid. Gerloff was around five seconds down on Redding at the end of the race as they finished as the highest-placed BMW riders.

Taking home points: In the top 15

Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) had shown strong pace throughout both the Australian Round and the Official Test in the week proceeding the event, and the German rider took 11th spot in the wet conditions. He was ahead of Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who took 12th on his WorldSBK debut on home soil, finishing ahead of teammate Dominique Aegerter in 13th. Aegerter had started on the front row but dropped back during his first WorldSBK race and his first in wet conditions to take points on his debut. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)  was 14th at the end of the 22-lap race while Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) claimed the final points position in Race 1 with 15th place.

Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) was 16th on his return to the Championship, finishing two seconds down on his teammate, while rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) was 17th and almost three seconds down on Granado. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was 18th after he brought his M 1000 RR into the pits during the race and returning to the track a lap down.

Housekeeping: To note from Race 1

Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the first retirement of the race when he crashed at Turn 8 on Lap 2 after he had a highside, which ended his first race of 2023 prematurely. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed out of the race on Lap 15 at Turn 2, with Lowes going to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. Lowes was subsequently declared fit. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) had a technical issue during the race and lost two laps in the early stages after bringing his bike into the pits on Lap 5. He did briefly re-join the race but retired from the race. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) also retired from the race after he ran wide at Turn 4 and then bringing his bike into the pits.

The top six following WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.471s

3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +6.168s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +16.789s

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +20.918s

6. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +27.015s

Fastest Lap: Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki – 1’42.173s

Superpole

Bautista leads Ducati 1-2 with Superpole Race victory, Rea seventh as GRT Yamaha teammates collide

The Spaniard claimed his second win of the round with a superb ride in the Superpole Race, while Jonathan Rea finished seventh

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s Tissot Superpole Race was 10 laps of drama no matter where you looked at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed victory for his second race win of the weekend as he finished ahead of teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, while there was drama in the top six as teammates collided from a strong position.

The top three. Starting Race 2 from the front row

Bautista got the holeshot at the start of the race but was passed by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) at Turn 4 on the opening lap, before Bautista passed him at the start of Lap 2 down the Gardner Straight. From there, Bautista was able to hold on to take his 34th WorldSBK win, putting him level with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his 60th WorldSBK podium. He was ahead of Rinaldi in second who secured second place with a move on Razgatlioglu on Lap 4 at Turn 1, with Razgatlioglu taking third spot.

On the second row: A solid starting position secured

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was the lead Kawasaki rider in fourth place. Lowes had been running in the podium places in the early stages of the race but dropped down as he was passed by Rinaldi and then Razgatlioglu around the halfway stage of the race. Lowes was able to resist pressure from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) to take fourth spot and Locatelli in fifth, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in sixth to secure a second row start for Race 2.

Third row start: The top nine in the Superpole Race

Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took seventh spot after he lost time and positions on the opening lap after he was forced wide by Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) at Turn 4, with Rea unable to make moves back through the order. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) finished eighth and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) took ninth to take a third row start in Race 2. Bassani had a late-race battle with Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) with the pair separated by half-a-second at the end of the race.

Housekeeping: To note from the Superpole Race

It was a disastrous outcome for the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team when Remy Gardner attacked teammate Dominique Aegerter on Lap 6 at Turn 4. The pair made contact and both riders retired from the race. It means Aegerter will start Race 2 from 10th place and Gardner in 11th when they were running in the top six in the Superpole Race. The incident was placed under investigation by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards who decided to look at the incident after the race, with Gardner given a Long Lap Penalty for Race 2 for irresponsible riding.

The top nine from the Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.462s

3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.060s

4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.833s

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +3.893s

6. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +4.215s

7. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.952s

8. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +7.140s

9. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +11.295s

Fastest lap: Dominique Aegerter, Yamaha – 1’30.374s

Race Two

BAUstralia: Historic hat-trick for Bautista with commanding Race 2 victory, Razgatlioglu retires after Lowes clash

Bautista becomes the most successful WorldSBK rider in history at Phillip Island with his eighth victory at the iconic circuit

There was drama through Race 2 in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship during the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) made history with his fifth WorldSBK hat-trick in commanding fashion ahead of his teammate, while Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK Team) could only manage eighth place as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) didn’t score points in Race 2.

History made: Bautista takes a Phillip Island hat-trick

Reigning Champion Bautista led from the start and he was able to bring teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi with him in the early stages of the 22-lap encounter with the pair separated by less than a second for the first few laps, before Bautista started pulling a gap to his teammate to win by more than six seconds ahead of his teammate for the second Ducati 1-2 of the day in WorldSBK following their Tissot Superpole Result.

Bautista’s hat-trick means he became the first rider to take a second hat-trick at one circuit following his 2019 triple while he also became the first rider to take five WorldSBK hat-tricks. It was also his eighth win at ‘The Island’, making him the most successful rider at the circuit. In terms of his career, it was his 61st WorldSBK podium and Ducati’s 395th win in WorldSBK. For Rinaldi, he claimed his 16th WorldSBK podium.

Behind the two Ducati riders, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) claimed his first podium of the season with third place after taking third spot which he claimed from the start of the race as the Italian pulled away from the chasing group. Third place for Locatelli gave him his seventh career podium, putting him 54th in the all-time list for podium finishes. It was his best Phillip Island finish in WorldSBK, having taken fourth or fifth place in his previous five races.

The battle for fourth: Drama all over the place…

The battle behind the podium trio was a 22-lap affair with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) holding on for fourth after starting from ninth on the grid as he fended off a late challenge from Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) in fifth. The pair did have a gap behind them at the end of the race but that did not tell the full story of the battle which featured several riders including 2021 Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).

Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was able to fight his way up to sixth place behind Oettl and Bassani while double WorldSSP Champion Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was seventh after starting tenth on the grid. Aegerter and Lecuona both made late-race moves on Rea to demote the Ulsterman to the order to eighth place, while it was a disastrous ending to the race for Razgatlioglu and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).

Both were involved in the mega battle for fourth and Razgatlioglu looked to make a move around the outside of Lowes heading into Turn 4 on Lap 17. Lowes lost the front of his ZX-10RR machine heading into Miller Corner, the right-hand hairpin, which collected Razgatlioglu. Both were forced to retire from the race following the crash, costing them valuable points early on in the season.

Inside the top ten: Stunning fights throughout

Rea ended the race with an almost four-second gap to Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) in ninth place as he ended his first WorldSBK round inside the top ten. This also applied to Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who ended the race in tenth despite a Long Lap Penalty for irresponsible riding in the Tissot Superpole Race after a crash with teammate Aegerter. He had crossed the line in 11th place but Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), who had taken the chequered flag in tenth, was demoted one place for overtaking under yellow flags which demoted him to 11th.

Rounding out the points: A group of BMWs

12th place down to 15th were rounded out by the four BMW riders on the grid. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 12th, more than eight seconds down on Vierge, while teammate Scott Redding was 13th and more than four seconds down on his Dutch teammate. Redding had to fend off the two Independent BMW riders with the trio separated by half-a-second at the end of the race. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) was 14th, 0.179s down on Redding, while teammate Loris Baz was 15th and a further 0.402s back.

Housekeeping: To note from Race 2

Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) finished his debut WorldSBK weekend in 16th place, ten seconds down on Baz in 15th place. Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) was 17th ahead of Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) in 18th and Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) in 19th with the Brazilian finishing as the last classified rider.

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the first retirement of the race after he crashed out at Turn 11 on Lap 8. Sykes was two laps down after he brought his bike into the pit lane in the early stages of the race and crashed shortly after re-joining.

The top six following WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +6.191s
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +9.099s
4. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +11.680s
5. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +12.020s
6. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +13.701s
Fastest lap: Alvaro Bautista, Ducati – 1.29.584s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 62 points

2. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 34

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 31

4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 31

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa racing) 25

6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 23

Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2023 in News

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